A Critique of Nothing Gold Can Stay, a Poem by Robert Frost

June 7, 2021 by Essay Writer

Robert Frost’s poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” is a short poem about many things. It is hard to imagine that Frost was able to include so many different topics in such a short poem. However, as Dana Gioia points out in his essay about this poem, he uses images that are natural, mythic, and theological. This makes the poem very popular to readers everywhere.

Frost includes many natural images in this poem. It first comes off as a poem that simply is talking about the way of nature. But taking another look, it is revealed that Frost is trying to show that nothing can last forever. This is shown when he says, “Her early leaf’s a flower, but only so an hour.” He originally describes nature’s leaf as “gold”, but here he says that it only lasts an hour. While the leaf begins as something good, it doesn’t last. This message is something that makes this poem appealing to readers.

Another type of image that Frost includes in the poem is mythic. Again, the reader is originally led to think that this poem is about nature at first glance. But once Frost says, “So Eden sank to grief,” it creates the mythical image. The idea of Eden, which is supposed to be the garden of perfection, experiencing grief over something like the leaves changing shows that there is more to this than nature taking its course and also emphasizes the overall idea that nothing can last.

The theological images that Frost includes also involve the mention of Eden. The mention of Eden provides the reader with a theological image, because it is known for being the garden of paradise to Adam and Eve. Gioia finds that bringing up Eden and comparing it to the leaf’s bloom only lasting an hour, and that “dawn goes down to day,” shows that Frost had the idea that while the moment of perfection is brief, and it won’t last, it is still very important. It is important because of how briefly it will last. This message is another reason as to why the poem is popular.

“Nothing Gold Can Stay” is a poem that is quite short, but has a lot of different meanings and ideas. Dana Gioia interpreted the poem to have a lot of different images. Some images Gioia thought this poem included were natural, mythical, and theological. By including these images in his poem, this poem was quite popular to the readers because they stressed the overall idea that while nothing can last forever, the small moment of perfection that someone can experience, is important.

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